Udaipur: Of Lakes, Palaces and an Intrinsic Charm

‘Udaipur’, the city of lakes, is a very beautiful place to visit. The lakes surrounded by the mountains make it even more breathtaking. The best season to visit Udaipur is from September to March. The culture of Udaipur is essentially Rajputana in nature and the cuisine found is vegetarian. Both Hindi and English languages are widely spoken and understood here. The temples, forts, museums, memorials and exquisite buildings attract tourists who come in large number throughout the year. The folk culture of Udaipur is interesting and their songs and dances capture the hearts of every traveler who visits it. The district is famous for colorful shows such as puppet shows.


I went there in March this year by road through ‘Mewar Express’ A.C. train and stayed in Udaipur for four days in ‘Karohi Haweli’, a luxurious hotel. We can also reach Udaipur by air. On the first day of my visit, I did boating in ‘Pichola Lake’ which surrounds two islands namely Jag Mandir Island and Jag Niwas Island. ‘Jag Mandir Palace’ is located on Jag Mandir Island which has been converted into a luxury hotel having large number of corridors, beautiful gardens and a widely spread terrace. I went there and enjoyed delicious meals and found a large number of foreigners who were performing a Shakespeare play. Then, I went to see Taj Lake Palace which is located on Jag Niwas Island. It has been converted into a 5 star luxury hotel. It is very famous among tourists and it is made up of white marble.


The next day, I took a cab and visited ‘Eklingji Temple’ which was built in honor of the deity, ‘Lord Shiva’. The temple is beautifully sculpted and amazing architectural work is done on the walls of the temple which attracts our attention immediately. The temple includes 108 small temples within its high walls. The main temple is made up of marble and granite and under its vast pyramidal roof, a four-faced image of Lord Shiva is set in black marble. A few kilometers farther, I visited ‘Shrinathji Temple’ which was built in the honor of the deity, ‘Lord Krishna’. ‘Shrinathji’ specifically refers to the story in the Bhagvata Purana in which Lord Krishna lifts Govardhan parwat to protect the inhabitants of Vrindavan from a heavy rainfall set by Indra Devta. It is believed that after being impressed by Mirabai’s bhakti, Lord Krishna promised her that he will stay in the form of Shrinathji for specific period and the pandits in Shrinathji say that the specific period is still not over. So, people worship Shrinathji in large numbers and find peace there. We can also see Mirabai’s cottage in the temple itself where she used to sit and sing for Lord Krishna.


Day after, I took a cab and went 40kms away from Udaipur and visited ‘Maharana Pratap Museum’ and ‘Chetak Samadhi’ in ‘Haldighati’. ‘Maharana Pratap Museum’ stores many paintings and weapons of the battle which was fought in 1576 between Maharana Pratap Singh of Mewar and the Mughal army of Akbar of Delhi. The light and sound shows held inside the museum make us understand the events of the battle. The ‘Chetak Samadhi’ is also very famous. It is believed that ‘Chetak’ was a very brave horse of ‘Maharana Pratap’ who even after getting injured in the battle left Maharana Pratap to a safer place and died.


Shopping in the Udaipur market was also a funfilled experience with lots of Rajasthani handcrafts and bangles and trinkets available at cheap prices.


Udaipur is indeed a magical city and it just won me over and given a chance, one must visit this place of exquisite beauty and culture.


Shivangi Madan

[Image source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/soylentgreen23/6724075/]